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Beyond the Numbers: Echoes of the Opioid Epidemic

Moving personal stories from people touched by the opioid crisis and substance use disorder and how their lives have been filled with love, loss, and hope. Overdose statistics only tell one part of the story, these highly moving videos show us the story beyond the numbers.

This video project was created by individuals living with opioid or substance use disorder, people in recovery, and people who have lost loved ones. Beyond the Numbers was created by the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention’s Affected Families and Friends Work Group.

Evan would give advice learned from his own struggle with a substance use disorder. He lost his life to an overdose and now his mother shares his story.
Dana’s house was always tense when she was growing up with her father — and his drinking problem. Learn how Dana broke the family cycle.
Racquel discovers her pathway to recovery and purpose after witnessing the loss of her best friend. Learn more about her discovery.

About the Project

These short videos tell the stories of 20 people directly impacted by their own, or a loved-one’s, substance use and/or behavioral health struggle. These stories of love, loss, and hope were created by each person, using their own words, their voice, and family photos to help viewers understand the personal impact of the crisis.

A sister reflects on her brother’s life and her constant thought, “I wish I could fix this.”
Maria held on to hope that her son Martin would find recovery.
Chris reflects on his brother Martin’s life and “the tragedy of another young overdose death.”
See how Adina finds hope after losing her son to heroin.
Losing his dad gives Ryan an unexpected “gift” in the form of recovery.
A mother watches each of her daughters struggle with substance use

By Affected Families and Friends

The videos are the result of a project led by the Consortium’s Affected Families & Friends Work Group and are a resource for community partners, agencies, and coalitions, which can use these during future events or presentations. The Consortium has developed a Facilitator’s Guide that gives context to the stories and can be used to help plan events.

Project History

The original series of Beyond the Numbers stories was created and released in 2019 along with a Facilitator’s Guide. In 2021, the work group released another set of videos. Both sets were created with the help of the Story Center. You can find the videos by scrolling through this page.

If you would like to learn more about the project or use of the videos for an event, contact Jen Place.

A student studying to be a pharmacist learns first-hand the dangers of mixing prescription medications.
A mother’s reflects on her opioid use disorder and the darkness she experienced before finding recovery.
A mother reflects on creating meaning and purpose while watching a son struggle with substance use.
An aunt takes custody of her nephew and hopes her sister finds recovery.
A younger brother reflects on the chaos caused by substance use and mental health disorders.
Reflecting on the ups and downs of treatment and the beauty of finding sustained recovery.
A mother reflects on the loss of her son due to combining prescription opioids with benzodiazepines.
A mother shares her nightmare of the night her daughter died from taking her own prescription medications.
The story of being witness and support to a brother with behavioral health struggles.
An aunt becomes “mom” to her nephew with co-occurring issues, cheers his recovery and grieves his loss.

Beyond the Numbers Facilitator’s Guide